The men of the ‘Gospel Coalition’ really, really hate women

What in the name of all that is holy is wrong with these people?

Before we go on I should note that much of what follows could be triggering — because apparently in order to discuss something called “The Gospel Coalition,” we’re also going to need to discuss rape and rape culture and what these strange, cruel men refer to as sexual conquering in the name of their strange, cruel God.

Because, sweet Jesus, these men have issues. The Gospel Coalition is really bad news.

For some reason this Gospel Coalition bunch — neo-Calvinist patriarchal types in the John Piper/Mark Driscoll/T.J. Mackey mold — decided to weigh in on the current popularity of 50 Shades of Grey.

Rachel Held Evans summarizes:

In a post on the GC Web site entitled “The Polluted Waters of 50 Shades of Grey, etc,” Jared Wilson argues that the popularity of 50 Shades of Grey simply reflects a perversion of the proper, God-ordained relationship of authority and submission between men and women. To support his point, he quotes from Douglas Wilson’s book, Fidelity: What it Means to be a One-Woman Man:

Because we have forgotten the biblical concepts of true authority and submission, or more accurately, have rebelled against them, we have created a climate in which caricatures of authority and submission intrude upon our lives with violence.

When we quarrel with the way the world is, we find that the world has ways of getting back at us. In other words, however we try, the sexual act cannot be made into an egalitarian pleasuring party. A man penetrates, conquers, colonizes, plants. A woman receives, surrenders, accepts. This is of course offensive to all egalitarians, and so our culture has rebelled against the concept of authority and submission in marriage. This means that we have sought to suppress the concepts of authority and submission as they relate to the marriage bed.

But … our banished authority and submission comes back to us in pathological forms. This is what lies behind sexual “bondage and submission games,” along with very common rape fantasies. Men dream of being rapists, and women find themselves wistfully reading novels in which someone ravishes the “soon to be made willing” heroine. Those who deny they have any need for water at all will soon find themselves lusting after polluted water, but water nonetheless.

This man is unwell, unwhole and unhinged. God have mercy on Mrs. Wilson, and on all her daughters.

Evans responds:

There is so much about this passage that I, as a woman, find inaccurate, degrading, and harmful that it’s hard to know where to begin. That Wilson blames egalitarianism for the presence of rape and sexual violence in the world is ludicrous and unsubstantiated. His characterization of sex as an act of conquering and colonization is disturbing, and his notion that women are little more than the passive recipients of this colonization, who simply “accept” penetration, is as ignorant as it is degrading.

She goes on, at great length, to conquer the Wilsons’ hateful assertions with a penetrating argument. Read the whole thing.

J.R. Daniel Kirk points out that in Jesus’ name no, this is not a healthy view of sex and gender, or a biblical view, or a Christian view:

When you sexually conquer someone, this is rape. … I am embarrassed for Christianity that such an advocacy of rape (marital or otherwise) could find itself onto a websites that boasts of being one of a “Gospel” coalition.

Scot McKnight is just as blunt, writing “Take it down” and calling on the group to remove it’s cruel, degrading and “woefully ignorant” post.

Grace at Are Women Human? has a long and thoughtful response: “Doug Wilson, The Gospel Coalition, and Sanctified Rape Culture“:

Wilson goes much farther than any rape apologist Christian writer I’ve ever read, and that’s a lot of people. His notion of godly sex is little more than sanctified rape. In the name of Jesus.

He also says (as Jared Wilson states in a comment defending this filth) that “rape is judgment upon a culture that does not cherish and protect women.” We should be OK with this, according to Jared, because Doug Wilson isn’t blaming rape survivors for being raped. He’s only blaming all women who want to be treated equally and all of our allies. That’s all.

So just who is this twisted “Doug Wilson” creature, anyway? Glad you asked. Grace provides some more background on this horrible trainwreck of a human being:

Doug Wilson is not only a rape apologist; he’s also a slavery apologist. And contrary to Jared Wilson’s dismissal of commenters who repeatedly tried to point this out, this is absolutely relevant to Wilson’s teachings about obligatory female submission in sex.

Wilson is the co-author with Steve Wilkins, a white supremacist, of a pamphlet called Southern Slavery as it Was, which claims that Southern slavery “was not an adversarial relationship with pervasive racial animosity” but a relationship between “friends and often intimates.”

Jesus wept.

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  • nirrti

     If I ever write a book, I would be thrilled for some religious organization to call it “perverted” Doesn’t this dude know he’s doing the author of 50 Shades a huge favor by giving her free publicity plus making it seem even more titillating by condemning it? I guess these folks still haven’t learned their lesson from “Last Temptation of Christ” or “Harry Potter”.

  • Tonio

    Dan Ackroyd’s Dragnet movie, hardly a cinematic classic, featured an alliance between a Hefner-type publisher and and a scheming televangelist. I doubt that this explicit situation happens in real life, but I do suspect that publishers of things like 50 Shades may use more subtle forms of encouraging controversy. Perhaps they use intermediaries to leak upcoming works to mid-level staffers in the religious-right organizations.

    Did something like this happen with Potter or Temptation? I think the backlash against the former was unexpected, even by Scholastic who published the series in the US. Ditto for Scorcese, who seems to be an artist first and a Catholic second and might not have fully grasped the mentality of Protestant fundamentalists.

  • Tonio

    Wilson’s hateful “theory” about BDSM sounds very similar to homophobic claims that homosexuality is misdirected impulses caused by corruption of gender “norms.” 

  • Jeff Weskamp

    That’s why Tipper Gore’s organization stopped protesting specific albums back in the Nineties, and instead shifted its efforts to political lobbying*.  Every time they protested an album, its sales would increase.  And the louder they protested, the more sales went up.

    *Where they were much more successful.  The little “Parental Advisory” stickers you see on CD’s today are a direct result of their lobbying.

  • Caravelle

    The best part is still Jared’s responses to the comments though. I haven’t had the courage to go through his whole post yet but the first two lines are already priceless :

    What if you published a post that was for sexuality that serves and
    protects and against “rape fantasy” erotica/role-playing and lots of
    people found it horrifying and sickening?

    Well, to actually answer the question, I would realize I really haven’t come across as I intended and would take a hard, critical look at what I had written, and probably apologize whether or not I understood the criticism right then.

    But it’s pretty hilarious that he would describe his post as “for sexuality that serves and protects” when the whole post could be summed up as “Shorter Doug Wilson : by promoting rape and domination fantasies ’50 Shades of Grey’ subverts everything we stand for, i.e. actual rape and domination”.

  • Caravelle

    there is no such thing as a female orgasm, silly.

    And insofar as some women claim to feel one it’s probably caused by Satan.


  • Tonio

    “Serves and protects”? So men are the LAPD of women’s sexuality? This is the burqa mentality.

  • Caravelle

    That sounds painful.

  • Caravelle

    So men are the LAPD of women’s sexuality?

    Sounds like it. I’d even bet the metaphor extends to their attitudes on police violence.

  • JustoneK

    wait what?  This has really been said?

  • From the woman who knows the man the best, his wife: http://www.bchesaidso.blogspot…

    Maybe she is the woman who knows the man the best, but I’m not sure we can infer that solely from the fact that she is his wife.

  • Caravelle

     Not that I know of, I’m just being facetious. That said I am drawing on some well-known attitudes relating to female sexuality, and the Monty Python quote wasn’t completely random – witches were associated with having sex with demons IIRC. So I don’t think it’s ever been said, but I wouldn’t be overly surprised to find out some kook had actually said something like that.

  • ReverendRef

     Actually I wish there was a better word than “consent” that we used for sex generally.

    What about PARTICIPANT?

    Because a rape victim certainly doesn’t participate in that act.  And, getting away from the rape issue to something much more tolerable, there’s a big difference between the times my wife consents to sex and the times she participates.

    And if you’re wondering . . . yeah, Episcopal priests have sex.

  • JustoneK

    The fact it’s so frighteningly plausible is why I had to ask if it had been officially said somewhere.

  • God have mercy on Mrs. Wilson, and on all her daughters.

    Mrs Wilson and her two daughters and daughter-in-law blog at Femina Girls. The two daughters have posted responses to the fiasco attempting to defend their father, and there’s—shall we say—a fair amount of misogyny in their responses.

    I’m afraid that the Furiously-Righteous-[Rachel Held] Evans has transitioned into her squeaky voice, and we all know what happens when a woman gets squeaky. (And to be perfectly frank, this is a level of squeak rarely caught on camera since the Temperance Movement.) This subtle and yet unmistakable change in tenor almost unfailingly means that a woman is gearing up to hold a grudge of mammoth proportions…

    I am not worried about misogynists. But the only reason that they do not bother me is that I have never been without the protection of a sacrificial man.

    A woman carrying a sandwich board decrying Mr Wilson’s racism

    was unprotected, unloved, and insecure. She was, in short, suffering from some serious Daddy issues.

  • MaryKaye

    It’s also infuriating that if you are a woman and a sub, you feel like your personal sexual proclivities might be taken as evidence for female natural submissiveness.  Argh!

    My sample size is small, but I’d say that finding submission sexually appealing and being/wanting to be submissive in non-sexual contexts correlate very poorly.  I think some people (of any gender) use sexual dominance or submission as a role reversal–it’s fun precisely because it is *not* what you are normally like.

    The other thing that’s infuriating in a lot of mainstream discussion of BDSM is the idea that a sub’s partner must be a dom.  Um, no.  You can just *take turns*.  I tie you up Monday, you flog me Wednesday.  Given that subs are pretty darn abundant, it’s great that this sort of arrangement works out or a lot of us would be sexually frustrated.

  •  an alliance between a Hefner-type publisher and and a scheming televangelist. I doubt that this explicit situation happens in real life

    I remember reading about a bit of teaming up between religious broadcasters & adult/non-“family-friendly” channels in opposition to a scheme to make cable channels available à la carte.

  • LMM22

     I think that [Savage is] responding less to reality than to common, erroneous assumptions. I don’t think the ratio is actually anywhere near as skewed as people tend think it is. I think the problem is more that we have a very narrow picture of what it means to be dominant.

    That really doesn’t match well with where — from what I’ve seen — Savage gets his conclusions. If anything, his opinions tend to be derived from anecdata — i.e. from the tens of thousands (hundreds of thousands? millions?) of letters and emails he’s gotten over the years. (e.g. His historic position — and he *has* gotten better about this — about bisexuals seems to have been based on the complaints he’s gotten from individuals whose partners, far after the fact, admit to *really* wanting to have sex with the other gender.) And, from what he’s said, the letters he’s gotten have been from couples where both partners are submissives, at least in bed. (And, honestly, it doesn’t matter what sort of narrow picture you have: the question is whether or not you’re willing to take that role with a partner  during sex — and whether the partner you have who *is* a sub sees you as dominant in that interaction.)

    As for the skewed gender ratio, the issue is (apparently) not a different ratio of subs to doms among the genders — the issue apparently is the different ratio of men who admit to being kinky to women who admit to being kinky.

  • guido

    Are we sure that it is the same Doug Wilson who did the slave pamplet.  How can someone promote that slavery is an OK way to live?  That means slavery today, much which is sexual slavery, is OK?  Or, let’s cut to the chase to justify Southern slavery and discount modern slavery means one is a racist.  Pretty much if one defends Southern slavery, one is a racist. 

    I know we are talking women’s issues, but that little tract really freaked me out.  Now, I have it on my google tracking….no telling what will be pushed my way for advertising.

  • Tonio

    Or how about the uneasy alliance between feminists and fundamentalists who oppose porn, even though they have far different attitudes (to put it mildly) about female self-determination? 

  • Donalbain

    Better word than consent? Mutuality? 

  • Does anybody remember the film “Perversion for Profit”? After one watches it, and realizes who funded it (the Keating syndicate, BTW) one wonders if it was intended to serve a dual-pronged approach of energizing the pearl-clutchers, as well as increasing their sales by means of encouraging the prurient interests of the audience.

  • Tonio

    I used to listen to a radio show that played clips from that film and from another one, Boys Beware. The show mocked the homophobia and the Reefer Madness ridiculousness. The Confidential book series of  “exposés” were from the same era, and they pandered to both the prurient interest and self-righteousness of readers – not much different from the pandering behind shows like Real Housewives and Jersey Shore.

  • hidden_urchin

    A man penetrates, conquers, colonizes, plants. A woman receives, surrenders, accepts.

    I was thinking on where I’d come across this idea before and then I realized it shows up in Whitman’s “A Woman Waits for Me.”  There’s a pretty good dissection of it in T. Walter Herbert’s Sexual Violence and American Manhood (chapter 2).

  • The_L1985

    If switches didn’t exist, the BDSM community would be screwed. Or not screwed. I’m not really sure which one fits better.

  • The_L1985

    But sex dungeons are expensive! Rope and handcuffs are a lot cheaper than a St. Andrew’s cross or something.

  • The_L1985

    That is the most hilarious mental image I’ve had in a while.

  • The_L1985

    I’m not a Domme because when I get the urge to dominate, it is coupled with extreme, hard-core sadism, to an extent that terrifies me. I would end up badly injuring people, and that’s not the point of BDSM at all.

  • The_L1985

    That jives pretty well with the opinion I had.

    So why are we getting naked in your mind? (bear in mind that I’m pedantic about grammar)

  • The_L1985

    I’m still waiting for one of those types to discover Bible Black. I want to see if such a person is even capable of watching any of it without his/her head exploding.

    Quick note: DO NOT look up the above at work. It is porn, of the Satanic-rape-and-bizarre-bodily-transformations kind.

  • I’m afraid that the Furiously-Righteous-[Rachel Held] Evans has transitioned into her squeaky voice, and we all know what happens when a woman gets squeaky. (And to be perfectly frank, this is a level of squeak rarely caught on camera since the Temperance Movement.)

    Squeaky voices were caught on camera during the Temperance Movement? I thought “talkies” didn’t come into common use (as in newsreels) until the 1930’s, when Prohibition was already a reality. Did she provide examples? And did men in the Temperance Movement also have squeaky voices?

    At least we’ve moved on from “shrill”.

  • Tricksterson

    They may be aware of it, they just stuff it in the Encyclopedia Britannica sized file they keep in their heads labeled “Sexual Abominations.”  It’s why there’s so little room in their brains for anything else.

  • WingedBeast

    To paraphrase 1984 “To do our duty to God”.

    If we’re living in the Douglas Wilson’s Utopia, all sex is limited to two purposes.  Purpose 1; Domination by man over woman.  Purpose 2; the submission of man unto church/God/Douglas Wilson’s Moral Values.  Both purposes must be simultanious.

    church/God/Moral Vaues of Douglas Wilson (or, in George Orwell’s dystopia “The State”) forces upon man duty of sex which he meekly accepts and in turn forces upon woman the act of sex which she meekly accepts.

    Absent said domination by whatever, man could do something revolutionary, like attempt to enjoy sex for its own act, an act which, for a psychologically healthy human being, includes the enjoyment of others that are both involved and actively participating.  And, that could lead to dancing.

  • “I don’t think it approaches real “kink” territory until you start building a sex dungeon in the spare bedroom.”

    Aaw, that means those of us who can’t afford to do that can’t be really kinky :(.

    Oh, there are options.  There are certain, err, call them “community centers” or “member-owned clubs” where one can go to express certain, uh, alternative forms of sexual expression.

    Not that I know anything about this.  *Ahem*

  • Tricksterson

    I suggest shipping them off to Gor.

  • Tricksterson

    Clearly an invention of Satan.

  • Tricksterson

    “who aren’t allowed to have sex in any way save missionary”

    Stupid and boring but whatever

    “with womn who take any enjoyment”

    Wait, what?  He SAID that?  Why would any sane man not want his partner not to enjoy the act of sex.  I can  put being indifferent as to wether or not she enjoys it to normal asshatery but to think her enjoying it is wrong?  That’s blatantly insane.

    “or for the sake of intimacy”

    I’d repkly to this but the second part has already blown my mind beyound thecapabiliy of scorn.

  • Tricksterson

    Oops, double negative there.  should read “Why would any sane man not want his partner to enjoy the act of sex.”

  • Mau de Katt

     Why do you think so many ultra-patriarchal cultures cut those female naughty bits away in the name of  “purity”?

  • Tricksterson

    May I suggest “mutually participatory”  A bit verbose I’ll admit but the best i can com up with on short notice.

  • x-posted rom RHE

    I’m persuaded Mr. Wilson means every word he says.  His post shows us,
    probably inadvertently,  the basis of his reasoning about many things. 
    He uses the language of the acquisition of property to describe the
    relationship between men and women.  By colonizing and conquering, one
    obtains a species of ownership.  This, I am persuaded, is how Mr. Doug
    Wilson, especially, views the world–as something divided between the
    owners and the owned.

    If I am correct, then one can understand Mr. Wilson’s position that he
    has never advocated rape or abuse.  An owner generally cares for the
    owner’s property.  Most dog owners don’t beat their dogs.  Yet, we know
    this happens–it is not a universal rule.  Further, while owners may be
    kind and nice and generous to their property, the relationship remains
    the same–that of an owner to the thing owned.

    This also explains Mr. Doug Wilson’s advocacy of slavery.  If, as I
    contend he believes, the world is naturally (or Divinely) divided into
    the owners and the owned, then it makes sense for some to own others. 
    In fact, according to this belief, to disrupt such ownership is a grave

    Unfortunately, I think this reasoning, while not necessarily required by
    Calvinist assumptions about the nature of the relationship between God
    and humans, often tends to run along with it.  In Calvinist theology,
    God is absolutely sovereign; God owns everything.  God is, in this
    imagination, the Ultimate Owner.  Thus, if one is going to be like God,
    one will seek to also be an owner.


  • Tricksterson

    Until around the 19th century and even well into that Wetern fashions favored low cut bodices combined with floor, or at best, ankle length skirts.  As a leg anf butt man I am most happy this has changed.

  • Tricksterson

    It wasn’t just Protestants, in fact IIRC that was the first time the Catholic League made big headlines.

  • What if you published a post that was for sexuality that serves and 
    protects and against “rape fantasy” erotica/role-playing and lots of 
    people found it horrifying and sickening?

    Hidden in this question is the assumption that “rape fantasy” erotica/role-playing is something that people need to be against, so I guess a place to start would be by presenting all the evidence you have that “rape fantasy” erotica/role-playing is in some way harmful. Then you would present the evidence that the kind of sex you are endorsing does in fact protect against “rape fantasy” erotica/role-playing. So bring out those peer reviewed studies any time, Wilson. And no, the Song of Solomon doesn’t count as evidence.

  • Mau de Katt

    That’s why you attach strong eyebolts into your ceiling beams.  You can disguise them as planter-hanger anchors when they’re not in “active” use.

  • Tonio

    I admit that this type of fantasy role-playing seems skeevy to me, assuming we’re talking about someone who wants to be in the rapist role. 

  • See also the marriage counselors who say they never see happy non-monogamous clients.  The happy ones may not bother contacting a marriage counselor, or they search out one who is a part of the non-monogamous community.

  • WingedBeast

    Item of note: He didn’t explicitly state either of those three points that I stated.  I rather inferred them from the quote.

    For missionary, I was working from the odds.

    As for being refused the right to have sex with a woman who takes enjoyment or for the sake of intimacy, that’s the natural conclusion of roles which are limited to man=conquerer and woman=acceptor.  This isn’t a world where the two are roleplaying conquerer and colonized (hey, there’s a kink for everybody it’s on the internet) but where the real roles are exactly that in real life.

  • Eric B

    Are we sure this is misogyny?  It was so oddly written I couldn’t really understand what point they were trying to make.

  • LMM22

    See also the marriage counselors who say they never see happy non-monogamous clients. (re: selection bias and Dan Savage)

    Well, yes — but when it comes to observing that there are more people who are *functionally* submissive during sex than there are people who are functionally dominant, I think that his anecdata is most likely more reliable than any sort of overall survey or sociological explanation. (If there *were* an even mix, one would assume he’d be getting a decent number of letters saying “hey, we’re both dominants — how is this going to work?” — And, seriously, it’s not like Savage isn’t BDSM-friendly.) And I seriously wonder how many people are willing to admit their preferences on a survey — let alone actually identify them from practice.

    So, short of having trained researchers sleep with a blinded, randomized sample of people, anecdata it is.